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Beyond Rent: The Role of Amenity Fees in Your Multifamily Community

In today's urban living environments, luxury and convenience often come at a cost. Beyond the monthly rent or mortgage payment, many modern apartment complexes charge what's known as "amenity fees". 

These fees, though sometimes a point of contention among residents, are introduced to fund and maintain the various on-site amenities the property offers. But what exactly are amenity fees? How are they justified? And are they really worth it? 

We’ll answer these questions and more, but first…

What is an amenity fee? 

An amenity fee is a charge, often imposed by property managers or homeowners' associations, for the use and maintenance of shared amenities within a residential community. These amenities can include swimming pools, fitness centers,  clubhouses, communal lounges, game rooms, and more.

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Types of amenity fees

Amenity fees can be structured in various ways:

  • Mandatory: A flat fee that all residents must pay, regardless of whether they use the amenities.
  • Optional: A fee that residents can choose to pay if they wish to access certain amenities.
  • Usage-based: Fees that are charged based on the actual usage of an amenity.

It's essential for residents to be informed about any amenity fees before moving into a community or complex, as these charges can affect the overall cost of living in that location.

Why Are They Charged?

The purpose of the amenity fee is to help cover the costs associated with the following areas: 

  • Maintenance costs: High-end amenities like swimming pools, gyms, and communal lounges require regular maintenance. Whether it's cleaning, repairs, or routine inspections, these costs can quickly add up.
  • Upgrades & improvements: To stay competitive and modern, properties often need to upgrade or refurbish their amenities. These improvements can be funded, in part, by the amenity fees.
  • Operational costs: Amenities such as a 24-hour concierge, security services, or shuttle buses require staff and hence come with their own set of operational costs.
  • Enhancing property value: The better the amenities and the more well-maintained they are, the more desirable the property becomes. This can lead to higher property values and increased rental rates in the future.

How much do amenity fees cost? 

The cost of amenity fees can vary widely based on the property, its location, the quality and range of amenities offered, and market demand.

With that in mind, here are a few examples to give a clearer picture:

  • Basic apartments: For more budget-friendly apartment complexes that might offer a few basic amenities such as a small fitness center or a community room, amenity fees could range from $25 to $75 per month.
  • Mid-range apartments: These apartments might offer a wider range of amenities, including a swimming pool, a moderately equipped gym, and maybe a small playground or green space. For such places, amenity fees might range from $75 to $200 per month.
  • Luxury apartments: High-end apartments or condos with an extensive suite of amenities – think indoor pools, high-tech gyms, spa facilities, cinema rooms, concierge services, and more – can charge amenity fees from $200 to $500 or even more per month.

A general guideline for some common amenities in residential properties:


Monthly Fee (Estimated)

Annual Fee (Estimated)

Basic Fitness Center

$10 - $25

$120 - $300

Advanced Gym & Spa

$30 - $60

$360 - $720

Swimming Pool Access

$15 - $40

$180 - $480

Rooftop Lounge/Clubhouse

$20 - $50

$240 - $600

24/7 Concierge Services

$25 - $75

$300 - $900

Reserved Parking Space

$25 - $100

$300 - $1,200

On-site Cinema/Media Room

$15 - $45

$180 - $540

Game/Recreation Room

$10 - $30

$120 - $360

Pet Amenities

$10 - $40

$120 - $480

Shuttle Bus Services

$20 - $60

$240 - $720


Keep in mind that these are generalized rates, and the actual cost could be much lower or higher depending on various factors. Some properties might also bundle several amenities together at a discounted rate or even offer package deals. It's also common for some properties to incorporate these fees into the overall rent instead of itemizing them separately.

Are amenity fees fair?

The fairness of amenity fees often depends on how transparent the property management is about them and how they're utilized. 

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Usage: Not all residents will use all the amenities provided. Is it fair for someone who never uses the gym to pay for its upkeep? This is one of the common debates surrounding amenity fees.
  • Transparency: Properties should be clear about what the amenity fee covers. Residents should be able to see a clear breakdown of how their money is being spent.
  • Opt-Out options: Some complexes offer an opt-out option where residents can choose not to pay for certain amenities they don't use.

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What to consider before charging an amenity fee

Whether or not to charge an amenity fee is a decision that property managers, homeowners' associations, and developers must make based on several considerations. 

Here are some factors to evaluate when deciding if charging an amenity fee is the right move:

  • Cost of maintenance & upkeep: While amenity fees can buttress maintenance costs, the absence of such fees might challenge the upkeep of amenities.
  • Value proposition: Superior amenities can be a property's USP. However, sub-par amenities coupled with a fee can lead to resident discontent.
  • Competitive analysis: Aligning with market trends, especially what competitors offer, can influence the decision to introduce amenity fees.
  • Flexibility & fairness: While optional fees offer flexibility, a uniform mandatory fee might not resonate with all residents.
  • Financial stability: Consistent amenity fees can aid in budgetary stability, but any unforeseen hike in fees might ruffle feathers among the residents.

Promote your amenities with LittleBird 

Promoting your property's amenities is essential in attracting and retaining residents. Leveraging a platform like the LittleBird resident app can elevate the user experience and make promoting amenities more efficient and effective.

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Make the most of LittleBird amenities features including: 

  1. Booking amenities with ease: With the LittleBird resident app, residents no longer need to visit the property management office or make a phone call to book an amenity. Instead, they can effortlessly view available amenities, check their schedules, and make a reservation right from the app. Whether it's a pool slot, a time at the gym, or a private lounge for a special occasion, the entire booking process is streamlined, transparent, and efficient.
  2. Fee collection made simple: For properties that charge amenity fees, LittleBird simplifies the payment process. Property managers can set up fee structures for each amenity, allowing residents to view the costs upfront. When a resident books an amenity, the fee is collected directly through the application, eliminating the need for manual invoicing or cash payments. This centralized system ensures that both residents and managers have a clear record of all transactions, providing clarity and reducing discrepancies.
  3. Setting conditions: With the LittleBird app, property managers can specify conditions related to cancellations and refunds. For instance, if a resident cancels their booking within a specified timeframe — say 48 hours before the scheduled time — they can be eligible for a full or partial refund. Conversely, if they cancel past the specified window, a cancellation penalty can be applied. This ensures that amenities are utilized to their fullest potential, and residents are incentivized to honor their bookings or provide timely notice of changes.
  4. Highlighting your property's features: The app isn't just a functional tool — it's a promotional one as well. With the LittleBird resident app, property managers can showcase their amenities with high-quality photos and descriptions. This not only helps residents make informed decisions but also serves as a way to attract potential new tenants who prioritize certain amenities in their living arrangements.

Final thoughts…

Charging an amenity fee isn't a one-size-fits-all decision. It requires a thorough analysis of the specific circumstances surrounding a property, the needs and preferences of its residents, and the long-term financial and strategic goals of the property's management.